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HD setup.

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by iShater, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. macrumors 604


    I finally got my Oxford911 based firewire/usb2 enlosure and 200GB Western Digital HD.

    I put the thing together and plugged it in to my iBook and I got the message asking my to initialize it.

    I think it was Disk Manager that came up with the options for formatting the disk and for partitioning. Anyways, I have a couple of questions:

    1) For a 200GB HD, is there any benefit to partitioning it? any performance effects?

    2) How do paritions show up under OSX, do they appear as seperate drives?

    3) How long does it take to format a drive that big? It was running for almost 6 hours yesterday and I thought that something wasn't right and I stopped the process. I started it again this morning before coming to work.

    4) Any recommendations for tools to get to help maintain drives?

    5) Since this is a 7200RPM drive, it is way faster than my iBooks. Any thoughts on how to use this to speed up the general system performance? I can't think of any except using it as a scratch disk.

    6) Any other recommendations about this setup?

    Thank you very much! :D
  2. macrumors 65816


    A few answers....

    If you partition, the computer treats the partitions as entirely separate volumes -- they'll each mount on your desktop separately, be searched separately by Find, be addressed separately by utilities, etc.

    Partitioning does help with file sizes: with a large drive, the smallest packet that a file can occupy can get unusually large -- that is, even though a file is only 22KB, it might be put in a 128KB area of the disk. If you have lots of small files, rather than a few large ones, this can lead to inefficient use of your large-volume drive. By creating a smaller partition to store your small files, you can use drive space more efficiently.

    I use the new DiskWarrior as a safety net if verify/repair doesn't work. I've heard greatly mixed reviews about Norton products for Mac, so I shy from that.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Re: HD setup.

    From a speed-performance point of view, I don't think it makes a difference whether you partition it or not. I'm not sure what the sector size of HFS+ disks are, though, so I don't know if you would even gain any space efficiency by partitioning. A sector holds the data, and that's what idea_hamster was talking about: a 22kb file could occupy the whole 128kb sector space. I'm not sure what the sector size to partition size ratio is, though, so I couldn't tell you the best partition size for a space efficiency viewpoint.

    The only reason I partitioned my 120gb external drive, however, was so that I would have a partition the exact same size as my internal hard drive, so that I could have a partition dedicated to backup. I now have 2 60gigabyte partitions, and they're both really speedy, and seem pretty efficient. I'm not sure its necessary to partition if you don't want (or need) to have that kind of separation between your data.

    Formatting the drive shouldn't take that long. When I partitioned my 120gb external drive, and formatted each partition, it took no more than 2 or 3 seconds. If it gets stuck on "unmounting Volumes" (or similar message), I'd say you did the right thing by force-quitting the format. Maybe power cycle the drive before trying again. It really shouldn't take that long, something may be wrong.
  4. macrumors 68030

    that's some old info about sectors, the default size for sectors on an HFS+ formatted drive is 4KB, regardless of the size of the HD.
  5. macrumors 65816


    So this is no longer an issue with HFS+? Neat. One less thing to worry about for the Mac world.

    Just to clarify, I know someone who was using a 400 MHz 2000 Bronze keyboard black PowerBook (Pismo? Wallstreet? Something like that...) and he was having a sector size issue. Did the sector size problem go away with OS 9?
  6. macrumors 68040



    Yes, that's when HFS+ hit the market.
  7. macrumors 604


    Re: Re: HD setup.

    When I hooked up the HD to an XP machine at the office using the USB2 port, it reported the drive as unformatted, so I am expecting the system to be formatting the whole drive. Isn't that needed before a new file system can be put in place?
  8. macrumors 68020


    Re: Re: Re: HD setup.

    My experience with newer drives is that they are already formatted at the drive level, that's why people are saying it should only take a couple seconds. Drives are so intelligent these days that all the sector defects and such are handled on the fly, without the OS even knowing about it.
  9. macrumors 68030

    If you format the HD on a MAC, the PC can't read the partition (PCs don't read HFS format) and will tell you the drive is unformatted DON'T FALL FOR THAT! you'll lose any Mac info that you may have on the drive

    HFS+ format started with MacOS 8.1. You can still format a drive with old HFS standard (but no real reason to, unless you want to read the drive from a system prior to MacOS 8.1 And OS X won't like it at all.)

    In the Olde Days, whenyou could do a low level format, those drives (around 4 GB) could take about an hour to format, but a normal format with several partitions, shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes, unless you choose the zero option, that will add a lot of time, large HD could take a couple of hours, at most

    Final Note: NEVER, no NEVER interrupt a drive initialization or format (they are the same process at the user level) It's very hazardous to the HD - it might not be recoverable :)
  10. zim
    macrumors 65816


    I just did an 80GB drive with the zero option and it took about an hour to format, vs less then a minute without. I wish that apple would include some sort of time reaming option when zeroing because I became very impatient towards the end, best to do it overnight next time.
  11. macrumors 604


    Well, this is a brand new harddrive with no data on it. I had to interrupt it, I seem to be hitting some sort of limit on what the maximum size of the drive/partition can be. The last succesful kinda thing that I have is two partitions, first is around 93GB or so and whatever is left for the other. Disk utilities flies through the first then seems to get stuck trying to figure out the next step!! I end up with one mountable partition, and the rest is just sitting there :mad:

    I wonder if anybody out there has tried putting a 200GB in a FW enclosure like I am trying to do? if so, any luck? any similar problems?
  12. macrumors member

    I have a 200GB WD drive formatted HFS+ in a firewire enclosure and it works like a gem. It is formatted in only one partition. I have not had any problems, and the only speed difference is that it takes a second to get up to speed, and then it blazes after that.

    I use it for DV editing on my 17"PB and I could not be more happy overall.

    When I formatted my drive it only took a few seconds, which as a recent switcher was mind boggling. Now I just need to find a way to get rid of my old P4 and get a G5. Grrr......
  13. macrumors 604


    Well, I am starting to thing there is a compatibility problem here. I can create two 60GB partitions, however, the last partition seems to always lockup diskutil when it is being created. I am even locking up sometimes at this screen!!!

    Man, this is feeling too windowish :mad:

    Attached Files:

  14. macrumors 604


    I am wondering if it is an addressing problem on the enclosure, which enclosure do you have by any chance? thanks!

    [edit] oh, do you know what jumper setting you had on the drive? does that even affect anything? [/edit]
  15. macrumors 68030

    Your iBook will not support this large HD, but your FireWire case should do it for you. Most modern oxford chipsets used in firewire HD case should be able to format a volume larger than 128 GB. Experiment now, just re-format without configuring the size, do not create more than one volume, it should create the largest possible. With a 200 GB drive you should end up with a formatted size of 186.26 GB in a single volume. If it comes out to 128 GB, then you have a chipset (in your drive case) that will not support ATA-6 (You cannot utilize the entire drive, attempting to format a larger space will give you problems)
    You are using the case connected to your iBook as a FireWire device, right? (not USB) You'll find it really slow on USB (you don't have USB2 on your iBook! :)
  16. macrumors 604


    Yeah definitely firewire and not USB ;)

    When I try to format just one partition, it doens't go anywhere, disk util freezes up after a few seconds. I don't get any working volumes.

    The system seems to see the 186.31GB drive in disk util, but I don't know if I am doing something wrong or what. Attaching a few pics.

    You might be right thought with the 128 or so limit, so far the only successful no lockup so far was 2 60GB or so partitions and leaving the rest blank :(

    Attached Files:

  17. macrumors 604


    SOB!! Found the problem.

    Well, I googled around and found this lovely link
    amug article

    and here is a lovely quote:

    and also:

    So, those of you who are using 200GB HDs in enclosures, what chipset and what brand is your enclosure? Thanks.

    I'm SOL. :rolleyes:

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